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Snowden aide Harrison takes refuge in Berlin
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darkhorse Offline
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Snowden aide Harrison takes refuge in Berlin
Snowden aide Harrison takes refuge in Berlin

DW, 8 November, 2013.

After helping US whistleblower Edward Snowden attain asylum in Russia, British journalist Sarah Harrison has left Moscow. Harrison has taken refuge in Berlin, out of concern she could be detained in the UK.

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National security leakers lead a precarious existence these days. Julian Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over a year now, unable to leave for fear of being arrested by British authorities and extradited to Sweden as part of a sexual assault investigation. Assange believes that going to Sweden would be the first step in his extradition to the US and an eventual trial there.

Meanwhile, NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden is under constant guard in Moscow after having received temporary asylum in Russia. For now, at least, Snowden has managed to avoid the fate that befell Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, who was convicted on espionage charges and sentenced in June to 35 years in prison for leaking 250,000 US diplomatic cables.

Snowden's good fortune is largely due to British journalist Sarah Harrison, a Wikileaks researcher who helped the former NSA contractor escape the long arm of the US Justice Department. Having assisted one of the US government's top public enemies, she has now taken refuge in Berlin, reticent to return to her native England for fear of being detained by authorities under the UK Terrorism Act.

On Wednesday, Harrison published a letter calling for whistle-blowers to be shielded from prosecution, saying that “giving us the truth is not a crime.”

“Wikileaks continues to fight for the protection of sources,” Harrison wrote. “We have won the battle for Snowden's immediate future, but the broader war continues.”

'Snowden is safe and protected'

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Harrison accompanied Snowden from Hong Kong to Moscow

When Snowden first fled to Hong Kong after leaking his trove of NSA documents to US journalists Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, Harrison flew to China at the behest of Wikileaks to help secure the whistle-blower's safe passage and prevent his extradition to the US.
While not a lawyer by trade, she had acquired expertise on extradition matters through the case of Assange with whom she both worked and had been romantically involved.

“I'm sure that if Julian hadn't been grounded at the embassy in London, he would have loved to have done it himself,” Jeremie Zimmermann told DW, referring to Snowden's successful asylum application in Russia.
Zimmermann is the spokesman and co-founder of the digital rights group La Quadrature du Net in France. He was a contributor to Assange's 2012 book “Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet” and knows Harrison.

"I'm sure after [Assange], Sarah was the most competent,” he continued. “She's a brilliant journalist and researcher and a brilliant person in general.”

Although Harrison didn't elaborate on why, exactly, she left Russia, she did write that the job of securing Snowden had been completed.
“Whilst Snowden is safe and protected until his asylum visa is due to be renewed in nine months time, there is still much work to be done,” Harrison said. “The battle Snowden joined against the surveillance state and for government transparency is one that Wikileaks – and many others – have been fighting, and will continue to fight.”
Exile in Berlin

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Assange is still holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London

Harrison has joined a growing colony in Berlin of transparency-advocates-in-exile. Poitras, who has reported on the Snowden leaks for the Washington Post and Der Spiegel, and hacker and Wikileaks supporter Jacob Appelbaum, both reside in the German capital.

“Already in the few days I have spent in Germany, it is heartening to see the people joining together and calling for their government to do what must be done – to investigate NSA spying revelations and to offer Edward Snowden asylum,” Harrison wrote in her letter.

The outcry in Germany has reached a fever pitch in recent weeks. Reports from the summer about the NSA collecting millions of Germans' metadata have now been compounded by the revelation that Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone was also allegedly hacked.

“Berlin seems to be the place of choice right now if you consider the vibrant character of the public debate here, and I'm referring to the last two front pages of Der Spiegel that sounded quite serious about it,” Zimmermann said. In a recent Der Spiegel issue, the news magazine published reports based on Snowden's leaks, detailing possible NSA eavesdropping on Chancellor Merkel's cell phone. The publication has also called for Snowden to be granted asylum.

Fear of UK Terrorism Act

The daughter of a middle class British family, Harrison's father is a former executive at a clothing retailer and her mother works with children who have learning difficulties. After studying English literature at Queen Mary, she took a job as an international event manager, but ultimately decided to pursue journalism.

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Greenwald's boyfriend was held for nine hours under the terrorism act

Harrison received an internship with the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London in 2009 and landed a junior research position at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in 2010. Through her work at the bureau, she came into contact with Assange and later began working for Wikileaks as a researcher.

Taking the advice of legal advisers, Harrison has decided to stay in Germany, for fear of being detained in her native England under the UK Terrorism Act. In August, Glenn Greenwald's boyfriend, David Miranda, was detained under the act for nine hours at London's Heathrow Airport. Miranda had been on his way from Berlin back to Brazil - where he and Greenwald live - having transported materials between the Guardian journalist and Poitras.

Under the Terrorism Act, police can detain and question an individual in order to determine whether or not they are a "terrorist." According to Harrison and other transparency activists, by detaining Miranda, London effectively defined national security reporting as “terrorism.”

“The problem is she's now part of this net of suspicion,” Zimmerman said.
“It is likely that she would be suspected of the same kind of nonsensical charges if she even stepped foot here,” he continued. “So in a way, until further notice, she might be constrained to exile, the same way that Snowden, Greenwald, Poitras, [and] Appelbaum are today.”

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11-09-2013 06:06 PM
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Greekemmy Offline
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RE: Snowden aide Harrison takes refuge in Berlin
The article covers well the challenges faced by journalists and threats on their wellbeing and work by UK government's misuse of the UK Terrorism Act to install fear on people actively engaged in throwing light on the darker corners of government.

UK Green Party Member of Parliament Caroline Lucas tabled Early Day Motion 1021 Terrorism Act and Press Freedom, to give the opportunity to the British Lower House Parliamentarians in voicing their opposition to the government's apauling treatment of David Miranda and the very real risks to Sarah Harrison.

This is what it said:

Early day motion 1021

TERRORISM ACT AND PRESS FREEDOM

Session: 2013-14
Date tabled: 29.01.2014
Primary sponsor: Lucas, Caroline
Sponsors: Durkan, Mark Lavery, Ian McDonnell, John Flynn, Paul Leech, John


That this House notes the views of Frank La Rue, the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression, that the Terrorism Act and defence of national security must not be used as grounds for harassing journalists who investigate sensitive subjects such as human rights abuses; further notes the comments of the former Lord Chancellor, who was among those who brought in the Act, that the powers were intended to be used only against people who are, or who might be, terrorists; expresses concern about the abuse of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in recent cases, including that of David Miranda, detained and questioned for collaborating with Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald to bring the information leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to public attention; expresses further concern that a UK journalist with the WikiLeaks team, Sarah Harrison, is in exile and has been advised by her lawyers that it is not safe to return home on the grounds that almost every story published on the GCHQ and NSA bulk spying programs falls under the UK Government's interpretation of the word terrorism; believes that Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 is being illegitimately used to undermine freedom of the press; and calls on the Government urgently to review the application of the Terrorism Act 2000 and guarantee that it is not used to intimidate or persecute national security journalists.


Total number of signatures: 20

Name, Party, Constituency

Campbell, Ronnie Labour Party Blyth Valley
Caton, Martin Labour Party Gower
Corbyn, Jeremy Labour Party Islington North
Crockart, Mike Liberal Democrats Edinburgh West
Durkan, Mark Social Democratic and Labour Party Foyle
Flynn, Paul Labour Party Newport West
Galloway, George Respect Bradford West
Glindon, Mary Labour Party North Tyneside
Godsiff, Roger Labour Party Birmingham Hall Green
Hopkins, Kelvin Labour Party Luton North
Huppert, Julian Liberal Democrats Cambridge
Jackson, Glenda Labour Party Hampstead and Kilburn
Lavery, Ian Labour Party Wansbeck
Leech, John Liberal Democrats Manchester Withington
Long, Naomi Alliance Party Belfast East
Lucas, Caroline Green Party Brighton Pavilion
McDonnell, John Labour Party Hayes and Harlington
Ritchie, Margaret Social Democratic and Labour Party South Down
Stunell, Andrew Liberal Democrats Hazel Grove
Williams, Roger Liberal Democrats Brecon and Radnorshire
06-29-2014 08:44 PM
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